3 tips to join forces within network WAD500

How can entrepreneurs in the Wadden Sea area cooperate effectively? The Dutch Wadden Association has asked ETFI to conduct research into the functioning of the WAD500 network. We have taken a critical look at the strengths and weaknesses of the network. Our conclusion is that the Wadden Association should not reinvent the wheel again.

ETFI has analysed the WAD500 network in 3 steps:

Step 1:
A survey was conducted among the members of the WAD500 network to get a better picture of the experiences and expectations of the participants.

Step 2:
After the members responded to the questionnaire, in-depth interviews were conducted with the respondents focusing on:

  • Strong and weak points of the network
  • Expectations that members have of meetings
  • Common goal
  • Communication and the role of the Wadden Association

Step 3:
A small group of respondents were asked to participate in an in-depth interview.

WAD500 should not reinvent the wheel

The WAD500 network is a diverse network with participants from different sectors. Most entrepreneurs are part of the network in order to get to know others and to exchange knowledge and experience. According to the respondents, the Wadden Association should be given a leading role, but the network should be supported by different partners. When the strengths of multiple organisations are combined, WAD500 does not have to reinvent the wheel.

We provide 3 recommendations to the WAD500 network:

  1. Find cooperation with other networks such as Waddengoud or other entrepreneurial networks. Explore opportunities to organise meetings together. This increases the diversity of participating companies, ensures higher attendance and shared costs.
  2. Organise activities that produce a concrete result such as workshops in which entrepreneurs collaborate on product-market combinations or learn more about their organisation’s customer journey. Allow entrepreneurs to continue working outside the session and reveal the results in the follow-up meeting.
  3. The UNESCO label offers opportunities for entrepreneurs. Organise activities/workshops/arrangements that are linked to World Heritage status or seek cooperation with UNESCO. Show that the Wadden Association can be the link between entrepreneurs and UNESCO.

This blog was written by Maaike Bergsma.